My Teens Cell Phone

My oldest daughter had a cell phone when she was 11 ½ years old. 

Notice I said had?
(I will get to that part in a minute.)

I gave her a phone because back then she was visiting her father, in a different state, for several weeks at a time. They didn't have a land line at the house, so she couldn’t always reach me, and vice/versa. 

Some might think this is too young to have a cell phone no matter what the circumstance. 
I think maybe it would be too, except she was a responsible kid, not overly social and was quite studious. 

I had no qualms with doing it.

A year and a half later, she is now thirteen, and I have periodically checked into her messages with and without her knowledge; all was well.

Except one night when during one of my routine drop-ins, I found a couple of her texts to include a some swear words with slang mixed in.

That’s not my daughter. At least not at home. 

I had never heard her use swears. Goodness!  She rein’s in my slips! 

As for slang, she really doesn’t go that route either. She’s usually pretty proper, besides being a comedian sometimes…

I was shocked.

So, how’s a mom to handle this; a teen behaving quite different from her true self?

Do I say: ‘Oh.. teens are teens. They’re going to swear, use bad language, etc., or do I speak to her about it? Tell her how I feel and give her a lecture then ground her? 

All emotion aside, I decided to just take the phone away.

I justified it like this: ‘I am not paying for her to talk like trash to her friends; or anyone else for that matter.'

And that's all I said when I took it.

I gave no explanation if, or when, she would ever get it back.

That was three months ago.

Is she lost without it? 
Has she disowned me?
Does she hate me?
Is she a witch? 

Nope. To all of the above.

She is actually more social at home, more patient with her siblings, and is excelling at school again.
Like I mentioned, she had been a good student , but she is an even better one now. 

Why did I take the phone away so abruptly and without a second chance over something like this?

Because, I teach my kids right from wrong and know they are clear on respectful vs. disrespectful behavior. And though I found her attitude slightly off on occasion, I never took the phone away, but it was when I found a text message that included foul language is when she was done with the cell phone period.

I teach my children that they have freedoms I will give them. Though once misused or abused, they are taken away.

Freedom is earned. Such is life.

If you misbehave you pay the consequences.

There is a key to this whole situation. 

I did not tell her exactly what will make her lose the phone.

Why wouldn't I tell her? 

Because, it’s easy to erase a foul-mouth text. If I sat there and listed all of the things that if she did them, she would lose her phone for, she would be sure to HIDE every single one of them.

 So there are Obvious Rules:
  1.  No talking on it while walking to and from the bus 
  2.   No using it at school (it’s school’s rule anyhow)
  3.  Not while babysitting
  4.  Not until after homework, chores, etc..
  5. Not at dinner (and if I even heard it, I take it away)
  6. Not after a certain time on weekday evenings (unless she was calling home to say goodnight while at her dads)
Then, there are other rules which only I know and when she crosses that line and breaks one of them we face the consequence.

Cell phones are a privilege.  And sadly we sometimes we view them as a necessity.
Parents shouldn’t fall into that trap. Come on, we’ve all been there before….what did we ever do before cell phones? 

I think she’s fine without it.….gauging by her most recent confession:
‘Mom...I kind of like not having a cell phone; it’s less of a distraction.’

Teen - Cell   = Familytime! <3


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